Avid young spellers battled their way past obsequious, rapscallion and cauliflower to take the Stanislaus County champion spots and a ticket to the state championship in Stockton this spring.
Fourth-grader Michael Balerite from Aspire University Charter and sixth-grader Martin Shewfelt from Agnes Baptist Elementary in Stanislaus Union School District were the two first-place winners Wednesday.
Both will represent Stanislaus County at the state Spelling Championship in Stockton in the spring. Sixth-grader Arnov Krishnamoorthi from Lakewood Elementary in the Modesto City Schools district will serve as alternate.
Junior high students will face off at 5p.m. Nov.21 at the Petersen Event Center, 720 12th St.
There were 74 students from 45 schools competing in Wednesdays event at Gregori High School under the watchful eye of Spelling Master Harry Bakker and 40 volunteer proctors.
The spelling contest was sponsored by the Stanislaus County Office of Education, the Education Foundation of Stanislaus County and Wells Fargo.